Can a cop enter a suspect’s home without a warrant if they’re in pursuit and have probable cause to believe the suspect has committed a misdemeanor?
by Damon Root
In 2019, California’s 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that a police officer may always enter a suspect’s home without a warrant if the officer is in pursuit and has probable cause to believe the suspect has committed a misdemeanor. In February, the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether that ruling should be overturned.
Justice Neil Gorsuch seemed to have a problem with the lower court’s decision. Under the common law, Gorsuch pointed out during oral arguments in Lange v. California, the police did not “have the power to enter the home in pursuit of any and all misdemeanor crimes.” The Fourth Amendment was built on that common-law understanding. So “why would we create a rule that is less protective than what everyone understands to be the case of the Fourth Amendment as original matter?”